Rensselaer honored alumni Howard Blitman ’50 and his wife, Maureen, and Edward Zander ’68 and his wife, Mona, with the Alis Aquilae medal in recognition of their outstanding philanthropy to Rensselaer.
The medal, which translates to “on the wings of eagles,” recognizes donors who have given a singular gift of $1 million or more to the Institute’s $1.4 billion capital campaign, Renaissance at Rensselaer. The Blitmans and Zanders were honored during the Patroons of Rensselaer Reception and Dinner attended by more than 150 at Gotham Hall in New York City on Friday, Nov. 9.
“I applaud Ed and Mona Zander and Howard and Maureen Blitman for their unwavering support of the Institute,” said Rensselaer President Shirley Ann Jackson. “Their gifts and enthusiasm for the Rensselaer community support our students, our faculty, and our transformation as we continue to evolve as a world-class university with global reach and global impact.”
Blitman and his wife were honored at the Patroon event for their gift of $1.5 million to support the Howard N. Blitman ’50 Chair Professor in Engineering, held by Professor Satish Ukkisuri, who is working in Rensselaer’s award-winning Center for Infrastructure and Transportation Studies.
During the dinner, President Jackson announced an additional gift from the Blitmans of $300,000 to support the new East Campus Athletic Village.
Blitman has served Rensselaer for more than 50 years, as a Rensselaer trustee, adviser, and volunteer. He has supported scholarships and fellowships, the Rensselaer Annual Fund, athletics, and the upgrade of laboratories and studios, and has earned all four honors of the Rensselaer Alumni Association, including its highest award, the Distinguished Service Award.
Blitman is the president and CEO of the Blitman Building Corporation, one of the nation’s most successful and influential commercial building enterprises located in Port Chester, N.Y.
Zander and his wife, Mona, were recognized at the Patroon dinner for a $1 million gift they made to the Rensselaer endowment for scholarship support. The Zanders have also been longtime supporters of Rensselaer’s Annual Fund.
Zander joined the Institute’s Board of Trustees in 2006, and before that he served on the Rensselaer Presidential Advisers group, the School of Science Advisory Board, and as a Key Executive. He is also a recipient of the Rensselaer Alumni Association Fellows Award.
The chairman and CEO of Motorola Incorporated, Zander has been a longtime supporter of Rensselaer. Last year he helped to bolster the Institute’s admissions effort by writing a letter about the great Rensselaer tradition of excellence to each admitted student. In October he hosted an alumni chapter event at Motorola headquarters in Schamburg, Ill.
“Patroons of Rensselaer support the Institute through their outstanding philanthropy and advocacy, and are models of excellence for others to emulate,” said Donald Fry, vice president for Institute Advancement, who inaugurated the Alis Aquilae medal. “All Patroons deserve the highest level of appreciation, so it is a pleasure to acknowledge and thank them at a magnificent event like this.”
The Alis Aquilae medal was awarded for the first time ever at the Patroons of Rensselaer Reception and Dinner, where it was also announced that the Renaissance at Rensselaer $1.4 billion campaign had reached over $1.26 billion.
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